Cord Arts Movie Review: Johnson’s Looper delivers

For a movie that’s based on time travel, Looper’s writer and director Rian Johnson makes the smart decision to leave the mechanics behind how people travel through time out of the film.

As Bruce Willis explains in the movie, “… if we start [explaining it], we’re going to be here all day, making diagrams with straws.”

However, Looper is not merely two hours of gunplay: there are moments where flashes of Die Hard appear, but Johnson instead focuses the plot around moral choice.

Taking place in a “Blade Runner-esque” near future, Looper is set in a slum-centred New York City with an increased divide between the rich and poor.

The young Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (also a protagonist in Johnson’s neo-noir film Brick), is part of a criminal underground and lives as a looper; an assassin tasked with killing people sent from the future.

He lives without worry, addicted to mind-altering futuristic drugs, with few personal connections and no family to speak of. When the young Joe receives his next target, he suddenly realizes that it’s the future version of himself (played by Willis). Understandably taken aback, he cannot follow through with the execution.

Looper’s greatest successes come when the action slows down and an emotional layer is revealed. Both Willis and Gordon-Levitt easily take on the action-hero persona, but their characters become multi-dimensional as they provide emotional motivations behind their decisions.

Another notable performance is that of Emily Blunt. Blunt plays a secluded mother and does a fantastic job portraying her rocky relationship with her son, the vitally important six-year-old that was purposely left out of marketing materials for spoiler-y reasons.

A little messy at times, the film takes many unexpected twists and turns that all funnel into a complicated yet moving story. Those expecting a shallow sci-fi film will be pleasantly surprised.

As soon as the movie finished, I immediately wanted to watch it again. Looper is a downright pulsing thriller-action-film intertwined with a solid emotional story.

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